Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Cars, Trains and Planes - how they affect our view of the world

Photo: Gordon Smith, Styx River east of Armidale New England

Have you ever noticed how transport affects our view of the world?

I suppose that this first became really important with the train, the first fast mass transit technology. Not only was it fast, but it enabled people to ignore the world they were travelling through.

Cars and planes accelerated the process. Vast valleys that had once taken days or even weeks to cross suddenly became an hour or even minutes of travelling time.

This photo is one of a series of shots taken by Gordon Smith along the Styx River. Gordon felt that after walking 14 km, wading across the river 14 times, and 600m of ascent, the post-walk coffee and chocolate biscuits were well deserved!

Compare this with the view of the world created by modern transport. The entire Styx river simply disappears.

I am not knocking modern transport. The story on some of the attractions around Wagga Wagga, a case study showing a small slice of the opportunities offered by Regional Australia, was all based on the car. But sometimes it's nice to look small.

There is enormous variety in the Australian countryside, variety that can really only be seen if you stop and look.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but it sometimes worries me that we seem to be creating a generation of children whose only knowledge of the country side comes from obligatory school excursions now increasingly preceded by information sessions warning parents of dangers and intended to protect schools and organisers from legal risk through a process of "informed consent."

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